We’ve tested the 2013 Infiniti FX 3.0 dS – review image

Nissan’s luxury arm Infiniti unveiled the second generation FX model at the Geneva Motor Show on March 4, 2008 and shorty after went on sale in June 2008; but the most important aspect here is that in late 2010 the Japanese automaker finally unveiled a more “European” FX – and for the first time, yes, we have a diesel engine.

They finally understood that Europe is not like the U.S. where big gas engines are everywhere.

It was specially designed for Infinti by the Renault-Nissan Alliance, and as expected, because Infiniti is a luxury brand, it offers high levels of refined performance, but we’re going to discuss more about this engine later on.

Shortly after, in 2012, Infiniti unveiled the facelift model, nothing very complicated – it comes with a new chrome grille (inspired by the Essence concept), front bumper, fog lights, wheel designs, two new exterior colors, and an interior update with a new instrument cluster.

The automaker claims it has created a “crossover without compromises” … It looks like a “giant scarab” – is a coupe SUV, but is not really a coupe SUV like the X6 (sports activity coupe); but it cannot be compared to the X5 neither; so we’ve discussed with many people and journalists – and the result is that no one can really tell precisely in what class the FX really is.

 

Engine, transmission and performance
Like I said before, from late 2010 we have a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel unit available on the FX that was specially designed for the Infiniti. Codenamed V9X, is a common rail V6 that produces a total of 238 hp (175 kW) and 406 lb-ft (550 Nm) of torque. Jump in, push the start button and … silence – there are no vibrations and almost no noise inside – something that’s usually associated with a diesel, even if the rpm indicator indicates only 650 rpm; an exceptionally low value for any diesel.

Push the gas pedal hard and you quickly realize this is a heavy car, even if the engine has more torque than a Porsche Cayenne or a VW Touareg. But the V6 move the two-tonne car forward firmly and sounds beautifully when revs over 3000 rpm. 0 to 60 mph takes about 8.3 seconds, not as fast as a Cayenne, but the performance figures are reasonable.

The seven-speed automatic gearbox is superb –  it moves up and down quickly and efficiently. You also have two giant magnesium paddle shifters in case you want to drive a little bit sportier.  Overall, the engine is very refined, the gearbox is superb but sometimes the car feels ‘unpowered’ – mostly over 100 km/h –when you want to quickly overtake someone on the highway for example.

 

Suspension, handling, breaking
This is a tricky chapter for our FX. It handles beautify, the steering is very sharp and precise, even if at low speeds is too heavy. I’ll say the steering is as good as the one that’s found on the X6 (at high speeds). The FX50 is also available with an advanced Rear Active Steer system, which uses precise, electronic motor-driven control to turn the rear wheels up to one degree, helping generate a nimble steering response at low speeds and enhance handling feel at high speeds. The car offers a lot of grip and good body control.

FX offers independent suspension at all four corners, and the suspension system also incorporates special Dual Flow Path shock absorber technology with rebound springs for responsive yet comfortable ride and firm, tight handling. On the central console you can push the ‘Sport’ button that improves even more the handling and stability – but the ride gets very ‘rigid’ and probably you will switch back to the Automatic mode.

However there’s a little problem with the wheels. The top of the line FX S model comes equipped with huge 6-spoke 21 inch (P265/45R21 V-rated tires) alloy wheels that look fantastic. As expected, the cabin is very well isolated and the wind noise is not a problem, but with those tires underneath you, you hear a lot of road noise. So you will have to live with some rumbling road noise generated by those giant, good-looking wheels or – you can downgrade to some smaller wheels, and take a minus when it comes to design. But you have to keep in mind that the FX on smaller wheels may not handle as good as the standard one with 21 inch alloy wheels.

When it comes to the off-road chapter, the FX lacks the hardware to follow a proper off-roader (like a Range Rover Discovery for example), but nor the competition stands better (X6). Also, again – off-roading with those tires is not a great idea, and let’s not forget that some previous generation FX models were rear-wheel drive only. Yes it has ‘Intelligent All-Wheel Drive’ system (so it’s not stupid) which uses an advanced torque split control strategy that automatically redistributes torque to the wheels (0:100 up to 50:50 front to rear) according to road and driving conditions, but you don’t have any manual controls over the all-wheel-drive system.

Regarding its breaking performance, the FX stops impressively easy, without the needs to press the brake pedal with your both foots; and I’m not joking because on many suv’s I felt that I have to really press hard the brake pedal in case of an emergency stop. It stops very fast and during our emergency breaking tests, the car was very stable.

 

Interior
It is luxurious, feels luxurious (I don’t like that there are a lot of shared items inside with other Nissan vehicles ) and I have to say that the quality of the materials are in line with those found on some premium German vehicles.

There is plenty of space inside for both front and rear passengers, and the seats are very comfortable. The driver’s seat has 14-way electric adjustment, the passenger’s eight-way. On the back the coupé-like roof line does little for rear headroom.

The central console is clear and intuitive, and you don’t need any user manual to start operate the navigation or climate for example.  Talking about the navigation unit, the FX has the same navi as the M sedan (tested here) – and to be honest is one of the best navigations that I’ve ever seen. However, in terms of ergonomics, the controls are too far from the driver in my opinion, but most of them are available on the steering wheel.

What’s nice is that even the basic FX comes very well equipped, much better than a Porsche Cayenne or X6 where, sometimes, the optionals will cost you as much as a Vw Golf.

 

Fuel Consumption
It doesn’t have Start-Stop and it does have over two-tones. So expect to eat some fuel, about 10.2 liters for every 100 km in real world conditions – even if official figures announce a fuel consumption of just 8.6 l/100 km. Too bad that for the moment Infiniti doesn’t offer an hybrid for the FX model; don’t know why considering that they already have the M35 hybrid which is really great in terms of fuel efficiency.

Real world fuel consumption results: urban: 12.7% ; extra-urban: 8.5%; combined: 10.2%.
Official figures: urban: 10.8%; extra-urban: 7.3%; combined: 8.6%.

 

Safety
FX has been crash tested in Europe for a five-star result and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports its highest rating, Good, for the FX in a frontal crash test. It was the first car to introduce a lane departure warning system in the United States market.

Competition
Porsche Cayenne, BMW X6 and Range Rover Sport

Pros & Cons
The FX comes with a full suite of standard features while the Germans charge substantially more for those “extras”. The steering is great and the ride is firm, maybe too harsh because of those 21-inch wheels. The navigation is probably the best unit I’ve ever used, and the seats are very comfy. But the road-noise is too high for a car in this class, and you have only 410-liters boot space ( same as a Citroen C4 ). Other than this, the fuel consumption is so-so compared to others in this category, but when you’re prepared to pay over 60k for this car, I suppose that 1-liter in plus or in minus will not make any difference. It is big and comfortable and will appeal to those who aren’t particularly concerned with fuel prices.

What others are saying
“The steering is satisfyingly heavy and offers road information in a very easy-to-digest format.” – TopGear

The five-seat Infiniti FX is a luxury crossover that emphasizes sportiness over utility.” – Cars.com

“The FX30d’s biggest problem is that this particular class is already chock-full of excellent cars” – Autocar

 

Tested vehicle
2013 Infiniti FX 30 dS
Price: from € 53.750
Power 175 kW (238 PS) at 3,750 rpm
Transmission Electronically controlled 7-speed automatic transmission with manual mode & magnesium paddle shifts.
Driven wheels Intelligent All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
Emissions Euro 5 b+
Top speed 132 mph (212 km/h)
Acceleration 0–62 mph (0–100 km/h) 8.3 s
Estimated fuel consumption: urban 26.2 mpg (10.8 l/100 km) / extra-urban 38.7 mpg (7.3 l/100 km) / combined 32.8 mpg (8.6 l/100 km)
CO2: emissions1 225 g/km
Kerb weight 2,175 kg
Luggage volume 410 litres
Fuel capacity 90 litres
Overall length 4,865 mm
Overall width with mirrors 2,134 mm
Overall height with roof rails 1,680 mm
Wheelbase 2,885 mm
Track width Front/Rear 1,635/1,640 mm

Our Rating: : 4.3 of 5